Thirty Two.

Yesterday, I turned thirty two.  When I say it out loud, it sounds really old, but if my twenties taught me anything, it’s to embrace the present and enjoy each new stage as it comes.  Mother Nature decided to give me a gift of her own.  She heard my whining and moaning, and blessed us with fabulous crisp air and a few hints of sunshine on Saturday morning.  The perfect weather for a local hike!

The three of us headed to St. Edwards State Park – a gorgeous nature preserve that is just a few minutes away from our house. 

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Cullen is horrible in the stroller these days, but he still does really well in the hiking backpack!  We hiked for over an hour, and he didn’t make a peep.  Just smiled and took in all the scenery. 

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I didn’t realize how badly I needed this outdoor release until I got it.  The air was perfect and the forest was so unbelievably green.  We walked and talked and felt like we had the park to ourselves – it was perfect. 

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We continued along our path until it emptied out onto the beach at the shore of Lake Washington.  I’ve never been down there when no one else was there – it was so peaceful.  I found a big tree to climb, just to make sure I could still feel young as I turned a year older.

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Thirty two and still climbing trees.  I don’t plan to stop!

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The perfect kickoff to what turned out to be one of the best birthdays I can remember in a long time. 

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Seattle, you are grey, but you are still so beautiful. 

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After a bit of lounging by the water, Cullen let us know it was time to head home for lunch.

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On our way back up through the trees, I saw signs of spring all around.  It’s coming!

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We got home and Casey took over with Cullen for lunch and nap duty.  I jumped in the car and headed into Seattle for some early birthday fun with my favorite Seattle mamas.  We had a little private room in the back of a nail salon, where we could all sit in fancy massage chairs and face each other while we were pampered.  We sat and laughed and talked, while our feet were scrubbed and beautified.  I haven’t done something like that in so long, and it was so relaxing and fabulous.

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But no birthday celebration is complete without dessert, right?  After our nails dried, we walked across the street to Hot Cakes – a delicious molten cake shop that should not be missed.  This was so delicious, and so rich that I couldn’t even finish it, which is a rarity. 

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I had a few fabulous hours with friends, and was reminded of how lucky I am to have met such wonderful people here in our new city.  They have really helped shape these last two years for us, and I am so grateful for them. 

I got home just as Cullen was waking up from his nap, and we all took advantage of the last few hours of daylight with a walk to the playground. 

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After Cullen went to bed, Casey and I got to work on a very special dinner treat.  My friend Nicki is super talented, and she made me this amazing DIY pizza kit for my birthday. 

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Complete with all ingredients, instructions, and everything else needed for an awesome homemade pizza night.  Her husband makes this crazy delicious dough, so we were really excited to get started. 

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Lots of flour and a big mess later…

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We had two out of control delicious homemade pizzas ready to eat!

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I ate waaaaay too much, slipped into a pizza coma, and fell asleep on the couch watching Downton Abbey. 

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Sunday morning I slept in and cozied under the covers as long as my little alarm clock would let me.  I woke up to many birthday wishes coming from the east coast, and felt very loved. 

Downstairs, Casey treated me to the first of my birthday gifts – he learned to play Happy Birthday on the guitar.  He’s been learning to play guitar for a few months now, and even though he thinks he is terrible, I love listening to him practice and improve.  My eyes filled with tears as he played me my birthday song.  He is so wonderful. 

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We headed out for a family breakfast at Sunlight Vegetarian Café.  I got a big bowl of their homemade granola with blueberries, which totally hit the spot. 

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And I mooched off Cullen’s eggs and potatoes.  Should have gotten my own – rookie mistake!

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Next up was our birthday adventure.  Casey said we could do whatever I wanted for my birthday, and even though it sounds super lame and cheesy, the thing that makes me happiest is doing fun things for Cullen.  We took our first trip to the Seattle Aquarium!

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My little octopus absolutely loved it.  He ran around checking out the fish and splashing in the low starfish pools. 

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We also had friends there, which made it even more fun.  He and his buddies ran around looking for trouble together, while the parents tried to keep up. 

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It was exactly the way I’d hoped to spend my birthday, and I was so happy Cullen seemed to like it so much. 

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We made it home in time for nap time, which I took quite literally.  Casey went for a run, Cullen snoozed, and I curled up on the couch with the dogs for a glorious nap of my own.  After a few hours of lounging, I dragged myself off the couch and into my workout clothes.  I headed to Barre class and got my thirty two year old butt handed to me.

After a few more hours at home with the family, Casey and I headed out for a special birthday celebration – just the two of us.  I was decked out with new gifts – a new bag from my BFF and a new coat from Casey.  So fun!

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We had a wonderful dinner of some of the best Italian food I’ve ever had at Spinasse in Seattle.  The bartender made me a fancy drink for my birthday – something called His Boy Elroy – blackberry vinegar, soda water, sugar, lemon rind, and other tasty stuff.  Awesome. 

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All in all, a wonderful birthday weekend.  So simple, and yet it was exactly what I wanted – family, food, friends, and fun. 

I’m excited to be thirty two.  I know a lot of people resist getting older, but I find that life just keeps getting better and better with every year.  I expect this one to be no different!